Luke 2, 22-40

lectionary bible

22  When the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord-
23  observing what is written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord-
24  and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is prescribed in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

Simeon's Song of Praise Aert de Gelder  1700-1710

Simeon’s Song of Praise
Aert de Gelder   1700-1710

25  Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
26  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord.
27  Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required,
28  he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
29  Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised;
30  for my eyes have seen the salvation
31  which you have made ready in the sight of the nations;
32  a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel.
33  As the child’s father and mother were wondering at the things that were being said about him,
34  Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed-
35  and a sword will pierce your soul too — so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’
36  There was a prophetess, too, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years
37  before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer.
38  She came up just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

39  When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
40  And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him. 

New Jerusalem Bible  

Doubleday 1984 



The reformed liturgy puts the feast of the Holy Family between the two pivotal feasts of Christmas and of Epiphany in the Christmas Season. This revised dating indicates the focus in liturgy is not on the chronology of Jesus’ life as on providing insights into the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God.


Two sets of elderly people are highlighted in the readings. God fulfilled the promise of giving Isaac as son to the elderly couple Abraham and Sarah [1].


The upright and devout Simeon and the prophetess Anna — representing the Law and the prophets respectively — rejoice in the birth of the Christ of the Lord as God had announced to Mary and Joseph, the child’s parents [G]. Luke manifests in this event centering on Jesus – which happened in the heart of the Jerusalem temple — as a new and definitive fulfilment of God to Abraham and Sarah.

Holy Family  A Molel

Holy Family
A Molel


The faith of Abraham and Sarah in God was lauded by the author to the Hebrews [2]. This couple trusted in God not only in granting an offspring beyond their child-bearing age but of God’s power of raising even the dead to life.


Jesus enters into the paschal mystery by humbling himself to share in the common fate of humanity and to immerse himself in the daily realities of family life.

In this Sunday celebration the Church community works in solidarity with all families – in the many forms of their life situations and circumstances – in their joys and hopes, and as they work through issues of being separated, alienated, and broken.

Resources consulted

Normand Bonneau, The Sunday Lectionary: Ritual Word, Paschal Shape. Liturgical Press 1998.

Reginald H. Fuller and Daniel Westberg, Preaching the Lectionary: The Word of God for the Church Today, 3rd Edition. Liturgical Press 2006.

Kevin W Irwin, Sunday Worship: A Planning Guide to Celebration. Pueblo 1983.


With the psalmist we are led to sing songs of praise for the wonderful deeds of God who remembers his covenant to humankind for ever [P].


Simeon’s Canticle

Manoling V Francisco SJ

Good Christian Friends (Men) Rejoice!

Valentin Triller 1573
trans John Mason Neale 1853

Presentation of Gifts

Psalm 128: Blest are Those Who Love You

Marty Haugen


Of The Father’s Love Begotten

Aurelius Clemens Prudentius 413

Sending Forth

Faith of Our Fathers

Frederick William Faber 1849

1 = 1st reading

P = Responsorial Psalm

2  = 2nd Reading

G = Gospel  







Holy Family  Retablo Santo late 19th c

Holy Family
Retablo Santo   late 19th c


How are christian families to

  • live values of the Holy Family and
  • imitate the faith of our forebears?

How is the Church and our BECs to help families in facing the new realities and presssing issues that affect family life?